Andy Dalton is currently signed thru the 2014 season, and will then become a free agent.
At that point, the Bengals will need to retain him for additional years, or replace him (likely with a draft pick).
+ The benefit of the draft pick is saving $ millions
+ The downside of the draft pick is that the QB could be a total dud (think Cleveland over the last decade)
The Bengals seemingly have an interest in exploring keeping him with a second contract/extension.
Here are the avg $M / season for starting NFL QB's who are on a second contract:
|Aaron Rodgers||$ 22.0|
|Matt Ryan||$ 20.8|
|Joe Flacco||$ 20.1|
|Drew Brees||$ 20.0|
|Peyton Manning||$ 19.2|
|Jay Cutler||$ 18.1|
|Tony Romo||$ 18.0|
|Matthew Stafford||$ 17.7|
|Eli Manning||$ 16.3|
|Matt Schaub||$ 15.5|
|Philip Rivers||$ 15.3|
|Ben Roethlisberger||$ 14.7|
|Tom Brady||$ 14.1|
|Alex Smith||$ 8.4|
|Carson Palmer||$ 8.0|
Starting NFL QB's who are still on their rookie deal:
|Sam Bradford||$ 13.0|
|Andrew Luck||$ 5.5|
|Cam Newton||$ 5.5|
|Robert Griffin III||$ 5.3|
|Jake Locker||$ 3.2|
|Ryan Tannehill||$ 3.2|
|Christian Ponder||$ 2.5|
|E.J. Manuel||$ 2.2|
|Colin Kaepernick||$ 1.3|
|Andy Dalton||$ 1.3|
|Geno Smith||$ 1.3|
|Mike Glennon||$ 0.8|
|Russell Wilson||$ 0.8|
|Nick Foles||$ 0.7|
|Case Keenum||$ 0.5|
Obviously there is a huge jump from the modern rookie deals to the second contract for a quality starting QB.
When trying to see where Dalton belongs on the list of QB's on a second contract, we should be able to eliminate the QB's who are elite perennial MVP candidates (Rodgers, Manning, Brees, Brady) since Dalton clearly is not in their company.
If we look at QB Rating, TD:INT ratio, and age....
Dalton is fairly comparable to Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Jay Culter, who are all 26~30 years old, all had a QB rating in the mid~upper 80's, all had a TD:INT ratio of about 1.5 last season, and none of whom have been post-season successes.
Matt Ryan makes $20.8M / season (5yr)
Jay Culter makes $18.1M / season (7yr)
Matthew Stafford makes $17.7M / season (3yr)
So the Dalton camp is likely going to be setting their sights on the $16M~$20M / season range.
You could argue that Rivers, Eli Manning, Roethlisberger and Schaub all make $14.7 ~ $16.3, so Dalton should be in that range, or lower. But each of those QB's is older 31+ and have older contracts, and have less playing time ahead of them. It could be argued that some of them are past their prime, too.
At the end of the day, I think Dalton will expect to get $16M~$20M per season over 4 or 5 years.
Which leads us to the question, is he worth it?